Friday, July 25, 2008

Riding lessons two, three and four.

I promised myself I wouldn't blog until I sorted and sent the photos from the reunion in Toronto. Well, it appears that all went smoothly, finally, so I figured I'd better post about my lessons or I would lose it all together.

Lesson two was on a mare named Gina. It went well, but something was off. I just didn't feel right in the saddle. I'm not sure if it was simply muscle tone or lack of skill or something else. Gina is so different from Calico, she needs a lot of encouragement to keep going (i.e., lots of leg), so I was pretty tired 40 min in and my inner thighs were jelly. She was pretty good with the pole work we were doing, although she liked to duck her head when cantering poles and since I tend to ride with longer reigns than I should, or rather than my instructor likes, it was a challenge for me to correct this. I managed though, and ended up with several good rounds cantering over 6 poles in a row.

Lesson three, I was back on Calico and really noticed an improvement. We did some pole work, as before, but also a lot of leg yielding. I swear, I am so glad I didn't come see a class before I joined because I am sure I would have thought I was not good enough for it, but I'm doing just fine! Of course, much of the credit goes to the horses who are quite well-trained. Still, even a well trained horse won't do what you want if your cues aren't right. I don't remember doing much lateral work in my previous horse life, but I must have retained something because we were doing some of the nicest leg-yields in the class (again, thank you Calico!). Also, even though Calico is fast, I wasn't behind the motion as often as the first time I rode her. I am starting to get used to cantering again, which is something I need to work on with Cherokee. One of the ladies in the class mentioned that she was often out of breath when cantering and her son (who is a fitness freak, apparently) told her to remember to breath deeply. I thought about this in the couple days between lessons and realized I do it a lot, not just during the canter. I think I am still a little nervous at doing things that I think are advanced (for me) that I forget to breath.

Lesson Four. This was a make-up lesson since the fourth of August is a holiday and I paid for four lessons. I was back on Gina and there were only three of us for the lesson that day. I have to say, I never realized how much difference a saddle makes. Gina's saddle sucks, even more than Calico's synthetic Wintec. It just doesn't fit me, or her, all that well. Reminds me of clothing and how different you feel in something that fits like it was made for you versus the mass market brand. Anyway, regardless of all that, it was a great lesson. I admit, my legs still hadn't quite recovered from Monday's lesson, so half-way through they were screaming for mercy! No such luck. We worked on more lateral work, especially side-passes. I actually think we (Gina and me) did the best. Again, I'm sure I have Gina to thank for that, but a little goes to me because without the right cues she wouldn't have done a thing. We also did small circles at the canter, which was difficult because Gina kept wanting to break into a trot, no matter what I did. Gina requires a lot more leg than Calico, as I may have mentioned, so my legs were thoroughly exhausted by the end. It was intense and exhausting, but thrilling at the same time. I also have a nice blister/scrape from my boots, just behind the knee, which I'm sure will feel great in the lesson tomorrow :-\

I have to say, I am loving what this is doing to my body. Already I see a difference, especially in the last two weeks. How great is it that I can get back in shape while doing something I love?

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